Vincent Van Gogh experienced great hardship during his lifetime. He was a tortured artist who suffered from psychotic episodes and a dependency on smoking and alcohol. And despite achieving international fame after his death in 1890, the Dutch painter did not find commercial success despite his lasting impact on the art world.
Had he lived to the ripe old age of 143, however, Van Gogh may have found joy in Pokémon — and had he held out just a few years longer, he assuredly would’ve become a player of Pokémon Gold and Silver, in which Sunflora, the Sun Pokémon, made its debut.
At least, that was my initial, idiotic thought when viewing the teaser trailer for whatever The Pokémon Company and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum have cooking up. It appears to be an exhibit featuring Van Gogh-ified versions of Pokémon, including a Sunflora inserted into one of the painter’s many studies of the flower. Van Gogh painted sunflowers “with the gusto of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse,” he told his brother Theo in a letter sent in the years just before his death. The 1889 still life Sunflowers is among his most famous works.
One can only wonder what Van Gogh would have thought of other Grass-type Pokémon, such as Oddish, Tangela, and Bellsprout. This horrible thought exercise may be explored, however, by the Van Gogh Museum’s partnership with Pokémon.
For now, we know that a post-impressionist version of Sunflora, in the Van Gogh style, has been willed into this world. Van Gogh’s ghost, who I assume frequents the museum, will assuredly be bewildered by this creation (and hopefully others) when the Pokémon × Van Gogh Museum collaboration heads to Amsterdam starting Sept. 28.